Two weeks into my sophomore year in university I decided to meet up with an old friend from freshman year. She was a Muslim from Kuwait and a very interesting person to talk to considering her background. We were discussing various topics and came across the theory of evolution since she was now taking the same biology class as the one I had taken during my freshman year. She is very much into science so I decided to ask her opinion on the theory of evolution. Her response wasn’t very positive. I first I was surprised, but then I remembered I had learned the previous year that the Muslim world frowns upon the idea of evolution. I also learned that teaching evolution in the Middle East varies by state and is usually combined with creationist beliefs for the explanation of the origin of the universe. I am fan of evolution, but the conversation reminded me just how the Arab world is similar to the USA since there is a problem here with teaching evolution and God in public schools. Questions arise asking whether God should be taught alongside evolution, should we even teach evolution to our children, or does God even belong inside the classroom? Read more
1. Syria remained subject to a bloody turmoil for over two years in 21st Century which promised highest civilization in the history of our planet. Over a hundred thousand innocent fellow humans killed and over a million Syrian citizens displaced. United Nations remained a silent spectator throughout the Syrian’s massacre and so are all the Global Heads of the States “The Hon’able Members of UNO”. What a tremendous conspiracy against an elected government and UN recognized sovereign state. Who financed, armed and patronized the Opposition Party of Syria! Who is a threat to Syrian’s integrity and their solidarity! Who promoted Civil War in Syria! Who will own & justify the innocuous blood of one hundred thousand Syrians! Read more
Dear Gov. McCrory,
Though I’m fortunate enough to hail from Ohio, the greatest state in our union, I still keep abreast of what’s going on in North Carolina—my second, wonderful home state. As a Republican, Duke student and political science major, I was disappointed to listen to the radio interview you gave a couple of weeks ago, during which you expressed an interest in defunding certain areas of study at North Carolina public universities. The sound bite the media grappled on to was your declaration, “If you want to take gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it.”
I listened to the interview in its entirety, rather than just picking and choosing the choicest bits. I am guessing (hoping) this comment doesn’t express a malevolent view of the academic field of gender studies. Rather, I think it is a poor phrasing of your larger belief that public tax dollars should only fund areas of study that produce jobs for students. I’d like to respond to this larger sentiment and the potentiality of defunding certain academic disciplines, rather than the specific gender studies statement itself. Read more
The UN General Assembly meetings this week offer President Obama a chance to capitalize on recent diplomatic developments with Syria and to extend a hand to new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of launching renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. In an op-ed in the Washington Post last week, Rouhani urged other leaders “to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.” It is critical for Obama to show that his administration is willing to answer Iranian concessions with some relief of sanctions that Rouhani can bring to the Iranian people.
Iran is Ready for Talks
A prominent adviser to the Iranian leadership, Amir Mohebbian, explains that Iran’s leaders see the next six months represent the best opportunity to reach an agreement, before campaigning for parliamentary elections begins in March. This is a window the US cannot afford to miss. It is time for the US to offer a reasonable deal that would signal to the Iranian people that the West is willing to work towards a larger agreement. Read more
The world weeps for Syria. To the growing list of atrocious statistics achieved during the Syrian Civil War, we may now add the 100,000th death. While the West twiddles its thumbs, weighing its fear of being embroiled in a prolonged conflict against some moral imperative to intervene, Bashar al-Assad and his regime continue to pass bloody milestones.
When your neighbors are taken prisoner or murdered and your schoolmates are tortured at the whims of the regime, it's hard to sit by… so many Syrians are not. But the rebels who wage war on Assad have also committed violent acts in their fight against the government that, when viewed in isolation, may be considered extreme and even cruel. And yet we do not view them in isolation. Many of us intuitively consider the rebels’ use of violence to be justified in light of the violence committed by the other side. So, the argument might go, it is only appropriate to judge the cruelty of the rebels’ actions in the context of the greater battle and in reference to the violence that Assad is currently using – violence justified in virtue of reciprocity, what I call "reactive" violence. Read more
I recently had a conversation with an Australian student in which neither of us knew what the other was saying. We were both speaking English, but it was probably the most unproductive conversation you can imagine.
We were ostensibly discussing the merits of the liberal commitment to supporting the welfare state. It was one of those moments I was looking forward to while signing up for the Duke in Oxford program; here was my chance, I thought, to attain enlightenment in an oak paneled room while discussing a subject whose pretension matched that of my environment. And with a foreigner!
But it was not to be. I became increasingly confused because he said there was no commitment at all – liberals are only concerned with supporting the free market. I tried explaining that liberals generally favor expanding the welfare state and otherwise checking the unregulated market. After several minutes of fruitless efforts we decided to change the subject. Read more
Popular topics for political discussions all revolve the question of choice. People are happier when given more options in their decision making but laws still have to be set in order to prevent people from harming each other. The price, however, of living in a nation that allows the beliefs of different cultures and religions to exist is that we often have clashes over what we believe is best and lawful for our citizens. Recently, my home state of Texas signed into law a bill that prevents a woman from having an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Whenever I was asked the question whether I approve of that law my only response was “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, my response when it comes to whether abortion should be legal or not is still being formed. Read more
With the tide of cannabis legalization reaching an all time high, so are the interests of the corporate world in California’s billion dollar cash crop. Take the infamous GMO giant Monsanto, who may someday hold a large stake in cannabis cultivation in the future. The controversial company is currently investing millions of dollars into a new technology called “RNAi” – a process that could artificially alter everything from the plant’s color to making it insect repellent. If RNAi were ever applied to marijuana, the technology could possibly create larger and more potent plants for less. While this latest development may be making ma and pa cultivators anxious, basic laws of supply and demand beg to differ. Read more
Many commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington protest, one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others striving for equality were celebrated. Some might argue that much progress has been made, and civil rights are no longer a partisan issue. However, this may not be the case. Frank James pointed out that “The parties have seldom seemed so far apart as they did Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of King's speech and the March on Washington. Not a single Republican elected official spoke at the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ event at the Lincoln Memorial, site of King's 1963 speech, though some were invited.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/08/28/216580613/something-w...
This could be due to mere coincidence, yet there is some reason to believe otherwise. Read more
The subject of Father Scott's homily on Sunday was "tunnel vision," something our local parish priest knows a lot about since it was not until he was in his twenties and well out of high school that Father Scott finally got his driver's license. "Tunnel vision," said the state trooper who flunked him. "Stop focusing on the straight lines in front of you and see everything around you."
But it wasn't to whine about being the only kid in his senior class who still rode a bike to school that Father Scott brought up the subject of "tunnel vision." Instead, it was as a prod to urge the rest of us to stop fixating on the bright lines defining our own narrow prejudices, or tribes, or self-imposed prisons so that we might see the larger world around us.
That is because, as Father Scott explained, "God colors outside the lines."
Mine is a parish, as I have mentioned before, that lies on the outskirts (and mostly under the radar screen) of the larger Boston Archdiocese. It's a town that is predominantly Jewish but which has a protestant church on three of the town square's four corners and also a mosque all our own. Read more
Now that we're finally untangling ourselves from quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, "serious people" on both sides of the aisle call for a new open-ended Middle East military incursion.
At home, we hear about austerity and cuts, yet we're considering a blank check to send missiles half a world away.
We can't address climate change or immigration, can't vote on gun legislation or jobs bills, but we can find the time to start a bombing campaign that most Americans don't really understand.
Fifty year after the inspiration of "I have a dream," is our greatest dream really another attack? Is war all we can be serious about as a country?
There are issues we need to tackle seriously. Do we need to prioritize tackling Syria? Syriasly?
Share your thoughts, memories and your dreams as we share a drink and democratic discourse at you local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
What is worth reading in todays world? Naturally there are any number of books that one can find online, in a bookstore, or the library that will peak someone's interest, but I would like to talk today about political memoirs. The question I have, and would like to offer an answer to, is the question of whether or not political memoirs offer anything of substantive value to our study and knowledge of the political scene of a given period. Read more
As the director of a nonprofit 501(c)(3), I have had to quickly learn how these kinds of organizations function. I had been an employee, volunteer, and member of nonprofits in the past, but taking a leadership position in one has been an entirely new experience. Now, I understand these organizations are sophisticated endeavors meant to do nothing less than fill in for government.
Where our representative government and its bureaucracy have utterly failed to meet the needs of communities in the US, nonprofits have stepped in. The modern nonprofit is a uniquely American creation, as other developed nations utilize the power and resources of government for education, arts, environment, health care, nutritional programs, etc.
In America, these kinds of “progressive” agendas can be defunded and neglected by local, state, and national branches of government. In response to unmet needs, grassroots groups form to gather resources, provide services, educate, and empower identified populations in their communities. In short, regular people are called and chosen by their neighbors to make what is missing and to scrape together resources. Read more
I spent a little time in California over the summer. It had been awhile. I remember going there as a kid and being so impressed. It seems that the days when everyone in the nation looked up to California, that magical land filled with perfect weather, sandy beaches, gorgeous women, and glamorous movie stars, have gone the way of the VCR and the cassette deck.
The first condition that I noticed was that the check stations, that used to manned by friendly, professional, state officials, who welcomed you to California and asked if you were bringing fruits or vegetables to or from that state, now look like the ruined shacks from Fallout 3. I was waiting to be attacked by "Mole-Rats".
Oh, and the rest areas are all closed so don't bother trying. You have no choice but to pee at truck stop as you're paying $6.02 a gallon for gas. Read more
Mickey Edwards steals a page from those early Progressives who believed the cure for democracy was more democracy. Joining a long list of Republican "reformers" who are trying mightily to help the GOP avoid a rendevous with hostile demographics, the one-time Oklahoma Congressman wants to scrap the two-party system altogether in favor of a more participatory "nonpartisan" democracy able to govern itself without party labels.
It's an appealing vision of a restored "civic republicanism" that Edwards offers in his latest book, The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans. Appealing to me, at any rate, because it reflects my own belief that it is far more important how a party or a country thinks than what it thinks - since, as Edwards says, "democracy is not about policy but about process" and "how we select our leaders, how we deliberate, how we decide" are what really determine whether Americans are fit for self-government. Read more